“Not just a working space, it’s a mind space”
For 27-year old RF engineer Shreyasi Bhowmik, who has a master’s degree in electrophysics, CellMax is more than a job site. It’s a place to grow and stretch her capabilities in an atmosphere of constant innovation.
“CellMax isn’t just a workspace, it’s a mind space,” says the Kolkata, India, native, who grew up in Delhi, Dubai, Abu dhabi, Doha and London. Shreyasi came straight from graduate school to CellMax in October 2016.
What inspired you to join CellMax?
My timing was good. I had worked before on travelling wave antennas and lens antennas and was doing my thesis. I wanted to work on mobile base station antennas or satellite antennas and found CellMax in an Internet search. So, one day I just called the office, was transferred to the R&D manager and it turned out there was a job opening.
Has CellMax lived up to your expectations?
Very much so. When I first came here, I was a newbie. When you first come out of university you know your schoolbooks. There is an extreme difference between what you do in simulations or write your thesis about and what you do when you actually make something work. CellMax has taught me many things about how to visualize and how to think. It has inspired me to think in new ways. CellMax isn’t just a workspace, it’s a mind space.
What are you working with at the moment?
I can’t tell you that. Just that it’s a new platform for the U.S. market.
What is a typical day in the life at CellMax? Is there one?
I’m often building prototypes, troubleshooting, measuring and taking care of the measurement range, running simulations. Usually, I’m working on parallel projects, and each one has an action list. So completing those action lists, checking where there is an error, measuring, thinking about where the fault lies and how one can improve on it. Then measuring again and checking back with changes to make each part perform to the expected value. That’s a very typical day.
Then there’s sometimes something very exciting, like when you are in a development phase, where you are trying new things, where you don’t know the outcome and it’s like a black box. That’s where we are now with the new platform. We are trying to face new challenges and think of how to overcome them. So that’s an exciting day.
Are you mostly working independently or in a team?
It’s both. Sometimes it’s teamwork and sometimes independent. You might have a basic task, and then you get a result and take it to the team to get help. It’s a good mix. And it’s a comfortable atmosphere – it has to be, or the project doesn’t go ahead. We’re very friendly with each other.
How comfortable are you speaking up when you have a contrary idea?
It’s easy to speak up but difficult to prove you’re right. That’s the tough part. But you do get a chance to try out your ideas. And here is where experience comes in. It’s a good combination of youth and age. And when you do bring a good new idea to the table, everyone is interested in trying it.
What are some of your favorite parts of the job?
What I honestly like doing the most is problem solving. I like it when there is an unsolved issue that involves a new challenge because, honestly, until humans see a problem, we never bother to solve it. Living in obliviousness or complacency is the usual thing. And I like digging in whenever we have a crisis situation, because that's when we get to know the systems better
What is the biggest challenge?
You want to learn everything, but the challenge is not so much to learn new things. It’s calming yourself down, staying focused, having patience. Everything cannot be done at once. You need to pose systematic challenges to yourself and solve things one by one.
And what are some of your hobbies?
Reading books, classical Indian dance and cooking. Cooking is a stress-buster. After work, it’s the best thing to do. It lets one be free. It’s not rigid. Everything has a recipe, of course, but you can innovate. It’s just like in research. There is a process, an outline. You cannot add the oil after cooking, for example. You have to add the oil first. But it’s not restricting.